Negotiated news

21 Jul

One of the themes of Global PR Blog Week 1.0 was to challenge the validity of ‘messages’ in the context of online public relations. (We should not attempt to control that which we cannot control, and which would lose its value if it were seen to be controlled.)

I am working on the idea that media relations revolves around ‘negotiated news’ rather than corporate message delivery. Negotiations have to take place with media outlets, but they also have to take place with clients and bosses. It’s a negotiation over the value and validity of ideas and angles – not over payment, placement or position. By giving up control we gain editorial endorsement.

Media relations is viewed with scorn by so many: seen as ‘mere’ promotion by marketers, seen as a technician skill by PR academic texts, and viewed as ‘spin’ and deceit by the public. Yet it remains uncontested territory that is uniquely owned by PR practitioners (except for the occasional foray by ill-equipped lawyers). Let’s defend our ground.

2 Responses to “Negotiated news”

  1. Elizabeth Albrycht 22/07/2004 at 2:18 pm #

    I agree with you about “negotiated news.” The endless back and forth among all of the players, resulting in some public presentation is what is truly interesting about PR (to me at least). I also think that these negotiations are where the ambivalence, or worse, contempt, towards the PR professions is born. Because these negotiations are generally conducted behind various veils of secrecy, they engender deep distrust among participants and audiences. No one trusts each other, everyone is playing to “win” and toxic cynicism is the result.
    I wonder if we can break down those barriers and make visible at least some of these negotations. Maybe then it won’t seem so much like black magic. That is the genesis behind the idea of the Open Source PR Project.
    So, rather than defending our ground, perhaps we’d be better breaking it open. I tend to think this will result in vast new opportunities for communications, vs. us losing our supposed competitive advantage. I am looking for opportunities to prove this hypothesis. I hope you join me in debate about all of this!

  2. Lisa DeNoia 24/07/2004 at 6:43 pm #

    It’s no wonder that media relations is looked upon with scorn when we are using terminology like “negotiated news.” Those less familiar with the PR profession want to think of news as “unbiased” and “objective” — not “negotiated.” I agree with Elizabeth — secrecy results in distrust, and PR professionals need to make it clear that “negotiated” is not synonymous with “spin” or “deceit.”

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